Kraken fall to Blues, get swept on three-game road trip
ST. LOUIS — For the Kraken this season, it feels like if it’s not one thing it’s another.
They got strong goaltending and penalty killing against a prolific Blues power play but only generated a single goal in a 2-1 loss. They finished their three-game road trip 0-3-0, and have lost their last eight contests, and 10 of their last 11.
The Kraken penalty kill stopped the first four Blues power plays in one of the better special-teams performances of the season. The miscues built up though and cost the Kraken with a go-ahead power play goal 5:30 into the third period from Pavel Buchnevich.
Chris Driedger, in his first start in goal since Dec. 30 and eighth overall, made 25 saves and kept the Kraken ahead for the majority of the contest. He made 12 saves in the second period to preserve the lead before it dissipated early in the third.
After playing the night before in Dallas, the Kraken came out with plenty of jump and a significantly stronger opening frame than against the Stars. It was an inverse of the Dallas game where they were sluggish to start and built better second and third periods.
Alexander Wennberg snagged his fourth goal of the season off a Ryan Donato rebound, his first goal in 12 contests. It was the first time the Kraken struck first in a road game since Dec. 14, their last road victory.
St. Louis pressured in the second, and the Kraken were forced to kill back-to-back Vince Dunn minor penalties just under midway through. They killed another one later, Mark Giordano’s second infraction of the night. The Blues entered Thursday night with the second-best power play in the league at 30.1 percent.
The Kraken entered the night at a 77.5 percent clip killing penalties, which was the 24th ranked unit in the NHL. Over the course of the road trip, against thee of the better power play teams in the league, they only allowed two power play tallies, and it was a 5-on-3 strike in Dallas before the late Blues goal on Thursday.
The Kraken couldn’t generate on a power play that spanned the end of the second and into the third, but it was the Blues even strength unit that knotted the game up.
A turnover trying to clear the defensive end was picked up in the neutral zone by Blues defender Torey Krug, and the Blues had a clean zone entry before Robert Thomas made it 1-1 just 1:29 into the third frame.
On the fifth power play moments later, the Kraken were burned.
Buchnevich scored from between the circles just 12 seconds into Max McCormick’s holding penalty early in the third. The Kraken got a power play with 2:15 left in the game
The Kraken barely possessed the puck the rest of the period and notably struggled to generate any offensive momentum, especially from zone entries. They’ll have the next seven games at home before a lengthy east-coast trip into the All-Star break, but they also haven’t won at home since Dec. 4.